A chilling and literal adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic novel. Victor Frankenstein, while in medical school, is obsessed with the idea of creating life. He attempts many bizarre experiments and his theories are laughed... more » at. After graduation his private studies take an even more compulsive direction, which leads to experiments with human corpses. Using bodies stolen from the morgue, he creates a being in human form. This horrible and tormented creature rebels against the doctor and starts on a journey filled with murder and destruction. Dr. Frankenstein pursues him to the frozen Arctic for the final confrontation, from which only one will survive.« less
"I would rate this 4 1/2, leaning towards 5 stars. This is a really visually and stylistically beautiful film, not to meantion a haunting experience. There are images within this film that will stay with you for years. This is not a fast paced "mad-scientist" movie as most would expect. This film captures the morbid/melancholy/gothic atmosphere of the original book almost perfectly. In fact it is virtually taken directly from the book with only a few minor details altered. The performances are very natural and very European giving it a sense of believability that most Frankenstein films lack. The morbid, filthy, and atrocious nature of Frankenstein's experiments are expressed very well in a series of shocking and disturbing scenes. The creation scene is played out very much the same as it was written in the book. We're really not quite sure exactly how the monster is brought to life. If you're familiar with the original story, there really isn't much difference. A couple elements in the story are condensed, but that doesn't really take away from the film overall. The framing of Justine is left out and the death of Frankenstein's father is implied rather than shown. The cinematography is beautiful and the atmosphere is intense. Leon Vitali is excellent as the tormented, remorseful Victor Frankenstein, but Per Oscarsson steals the show as the monster. Oscarsson, a specialist in neurosis plays one of the most impressive monsters in a Frankenstein film. There is something very unnerving, unnatural and disturbing in the way he moves, looks and even talks. Just as it would be with an artificial man. He's less hideous than disturbingly unnatural. Oscarsson expresses the monster's alienation from the human race in a very subtle, yet heartbreaking way as we watch him go from innocent child, to bloodthirsty, vengeful monster. Overall if you enjoy Gothic melodrama this is your bag. Definitely worth seeing for it's faithfulness to the original text."
The Most Faithful Translation from Book to Screen
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 02/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1997 Irish/Swedish cinematic interpretation of the Frankenstein tragedy is more faithful to Mary Shelley's original novel than any version filmed before or since, including the overblown 1994 Kenneth Branagh production that purports its faithfulness by using the name of the novel's author in its full title. While TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (a.k.a. VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN) is obviously a low-budget un-Hollywood film and does not, therefore, have the same slick-and-shiny production quality of the better-known 1931 James Whale film or the aforementioned Branagh version, the well-written, faithful screenplay and the superb talents of actors and director make it, in many ways, superior to all others.Those familiar with Shelley's novel already know that it is an allegory that plays on many levels. On the surface, Dr. Frankenstein's blind obsession with learning to create life and the consequences of his success can be viewed as a cautionary tale, warning the self-important intellectual of the dangers of presuming upon the realm of God. On a deeper level, Frankenstein's rejection of his creation and the creature's consequent reaction is allegorical to the contention that often exists between father and son, especially when the father disapproves of the son's ideals or lifestyle. Deeper still, the creature's attempt to reconcile with his creator--at least to some degree--reflects the Biblical story of Mankind's original fall from grace and subsequent attempts to regain favor with God. In at least one of the introductions that she herself wrote for various printings of FRANKENSTEIN, Shelley suggests that all these themes are, to some extent, woven into the narrative of the novel. And unlike many other filmic interpretations, all three of these concepts are also at work on some level in TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN, making it an accurate thematic reflection of the original work.TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN also reflects the novel's depiction of the creature as an intelligent and articulate being, which is very unlike the usual dumb, lumbering brute that most other filmic interpretations offer up. Not that the monster isn't ugly, because he is certainly that--a gruesome, rheumy, jaundiced-looking giant, much like Shelley described. But rather than simply a fright-inducing Hollywood gimmick, his ugliness symbolizes the chasm between a father and son or, in a Biblical sense, the Sin that caused God to oust Mankind from the Garden of Eden. (Though this combination of intelligence and physical ugliness was also a characteristic of Branagh's 1994 film, the make-up in TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN is much less flashy and pretentious. The creature's appearance serves the story, not the other way around.)This film is a must-see for fans of the Frankenstein mythos, especially those devoted to the original novel. But the general filmgoing audience should also enjoy it, as the acting is fantastic (and in non-dubbed English, by the way) and the directing superb.The DVD from Wellspring Media is basically a no-frills disc, the only extras being trailers. It offers the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and though the film does look like it has been digitally cleaned up--i.e., there are few (but some) scratches or dust artifacts--it has not been "restored." The color is sometimes off (e.g., there are times when the snow looks yellowish instead of white), and the shadows are generally not a deep, crisp black. However, the price is reasonable and the disc is still quite viewable, and being that this is a lesser-known foreign film, this is likely the best that will ever be offered.Condensed review: Five-star movie, faithful to its source material; three-star DVD quality."
The best of all frankensteins
Michael R Gates | 05/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From my point of view, this is the best version of Shelley`s tale; I have seen Branagh`s, Whale's(and others) but they are all very far from the spirit of the novel... Per Oscarsson and Leon Vitali are fine on their roles... If you like the true Frankenstein, this is your movie....Beautiful landscapes; a very peacefully film... A must see."
The Only Frankenstein
William Rittenberg | Marina Del Rey, Ca. United States | 09/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This ladies and gentleman, is by far the only true cinematic telling of The Modern Promethies. I saw this film long ago on Captain USA on the USA network. I was awe struck to see the monster being shown as he was always suppose to be shown.
The long black hair, the yellow complextion, the deep sunken yellow eyes and the thin black lips. No flat head here folks. This is the way Mary Shelly described her creation! This masterpiece had almost every single scene straight out of the novel. It even had the scene where the creature murders Henry Clerval at the top of a cliff. Clerval liked to rock clime you see. No other version had that scene, not even Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. All that film had was Clerval screaming NOOOO! on the middle of the stair case in Frankenstein's home. We never find out what happenes to him. The only films closest to this one are: Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, Frankenstein Unbound, and Frankenstein: the true story. See this film (The Terror of Frankestein) ! It is the closest adaptation of the novel yet."
Certainly the most faithful to the book, but this lacks the
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I would certainly go along with the idea that "Terror of Frankenstein" is the most faithful of all of the adaptations of Mary Shelley's gothic novel, but despite that fact this 1976 production ultimately falls flat with me. The question is whether the fault, dear reader, is in Shelley's novel or if there is something about the film director Calvin Floyd ("Vem var Dracula?") has made that is more responsible for the net effect. This Scandinavian effort was originally entitled "Victor Frankenstein," and I want to see in that an attempt to remind movie audiences that the name Frankenstein is supposed to be the mad scientist and not the monster.
Actually, I have never held that Frankenstein becoming the name of the monster was the biggest change wrought by James Whale when he made "Frankenstein" and "The Bride of Frankenstein." In Shelley's novel it is not Frankenstein's trying to be like God and bringing his creation to life that is his great sin, but rather his abandonment of the creature. But in those Universal films it is the act of creation that is the big act of hubris and trying to be like God, which goes all the way back to the Towel of Babel and eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. "Terror of Frankenstein" focuses again on the act of abandonment by Victor (Leon Vitali), which motivates the Monster (Per Oscarsson) to try and force his creator to own up to his responsibilities.
The pace of this film is slow and for a mad scientist Vitali is overly sedate for a guy tampering with the power of life. The original music by Gerard Victory is used sparingly, so that you have lots of key moments where nobody is saying anything and there is nothing to be heard. This is a really quiet monster movie, which is okay because this is a fairly quite monster, more given to discourse than rampaging (even when he is killing people). So while there is an emphasis on fidelity to the novel, Floyd's film does not bring what is on the printed page to life, which is pretty ironic when you consider what "Frankenstein" is all about. On the other hand, the film is arguably the least violent Frankenstein movie, which means teachers could show it to their classes if for no other reason than to convince them the book is better.
Ultimately, "Terror of Frankenstein" has to be compared to Kenneth Branagh's 1994 film version "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." Both films begin and end with the Arctic sequences that served as the framing device for the novel, and the screenplay by Steph Lady and Frank Darabont incorporates a lot of the novel and Robert De Niro's performance as the creature is provocative, but Victor struts around without a shirt and the whole idea of turning Elizabeth into the monster's bride sends the movie off of the deep end. But there is a passion and intensity to Branagh's telling of the tale. It is not just that his version has more passion and intensity than the "Terror of Frankenstein" but that basically every other Frankenstein movie I have ever seen comes ahead on those scores."